Ins and outs remain key at Rangers

THE waiting for Rangers fans is almost at an end.

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Rangers manager Ally McCoist and chief executive Graham Wallace will meet to discuss findings of 120-day review
Rangers manager Ally McCoist and chief executive Graham Wallace will meet to discuss findings of 120-day review

Supporters of the Ibrox club will finally be told tomorrow what chief executive Graham Wallace has unearthed during his 120-day review.

And they will, at long last, learn how the former Manchester City financial officer believes the Glasgow giants should move forward.

But will Wallace's findings and recommendations be enough to bring stability to what is a deeply divided institution?

Will the grand unveiling of his eagerly-anticipated report bring to an end months of off-field unrest?

That will, to a certain extent, be determined by what is contained in what is now being officially termed as "an update".

If the Scot has identified areas where savings can be made and revenue raised, so enabling Rangers to live within its means in the future, it may be welcomed.

The SPFL League One champions have limited funds and are haemorrhaging money at an alarming rate.

They needed to arrange controversial short-term loans of £1.5 million to pay their wages this season.

Formulating a business plan that reduces spending, while still allowing the team to progress on the park, would be a positive step.

But, as things stand, the outgoings are vast. The incomings, despite securing casino company 32Red as a sponsor this month, fall some way short of covering them.

That difficult predicament is, of course, not Wallace's doing. He was only appointed back in November when he inherited an almighty mess.

His predecessors Charles Green and Craig Mather, not to mention erstwhile financial director Brian Stockbridge, must shoulder the responsibility.

A schoolchild with a basic grasp of arithmetic could have recognised the foolishness of their signing sprees both last summer and the one before.

Nevertheless, Wallace is the man who is charged with sorting it out. He will ultimately be judged on his ability, or otherwise, to do so.

However, it is very difficult, nigh on impossible in fact, to see how his review can calm the volatile situation at the club.

The expectation is that his much-heralded assessment will simply declare that the club will seek to increase turnover and cut costs in the months ahead.

If that is the case, it will do nothing to eradicate the ill-feeling, mistrust and unhappiness which exists among a large number of their paying customers.

There remains a sense of deep unease about the intentions of many major shareholders in Rangers.

And if, as seems almost certain, no absolute guarantees are given over what Ibrox and Murray Park will be used for by Wallace that will simply continue.

The Rangers board have previously stated they have "no intention" of using the stadium and training ground as security.

It was a declaration that stopped some way short of ruling it out altogether.

The share price has steadily tumbled since the IPO two years ago and institutional investors have seen the value of their stake dwindle.

They have no emotional ties with the club. They are simply looking to make a profit, and in some cases a quick one, on their initial outlay.

Hanging around idly for several years in order for Rangers to return to the Scottish top flight and eventually to European competition is not a policy that will be favoured by them.

It is, then, not beyond the realms of possibility that they will look to maximise the assets of the club at some point down the line.

It was not well received when it became public that Rangers were using Edmiston House and the Albion car parking facilities as security on the infamous £1.5 million loans.

Elsewhere, continuing to ignore Dave King, who has pledged to invest up to £50million of his personal wealth to restore the club to its former glories, will also incense many.

How, fans will demand to know, can the directors possibly snub a lifelong supporter who is prepared to invest heavily in his boyhood heroes given their current plight?

Ally McCoist's side has, despite securing promotion comfortably and going unbeaten in the league, often not shone this season, in the second half of the campaign especially.

Certainly, by Rangers' high standards of old it has been unimpressive fare. Refusing to accept investment that would dramatically improve the team will tip some supporters over the edge.

The failure to strengthen significantly during the close season before stepping up to the Championship, where Hearts and other full-time clubs await, will further intensify widespread disenchantment.

No matter how many fans divert their money into the escrow account set up by King that has Nine-In-A-Row legend Richard Gough as its trustee - a few hundred or several thousand - it will impact on the club going forward.

With season ticket prices expected to increase by up to 20% it is possible that the number of holders - who numbered over 30,000 last season and this - will drop whether the trust comes to fruition or not.

It is worth remembering that Wallace is limited in what he can do in his role. He is unable to wave his hand and welcome Dave King, and his millions, on board if it goes against the wishes of his employers.

That, though, is not likely to placate Rangers supporters who are rapidly approaching breaking point.

Football

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